Advanced Prostate Cancer Is On The Rise: Here’s What You Should Know

March 23, 2023

By Jeffrey B. Walker, M.D.

Nationally, a man’s chance of being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer is less than one in 10. In the Greater Philadelphia region, those odds may be higher.

Philadelphia County has recorded the highest number of prostate cancers in the state according to the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Task Force. For men diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer, only about one-third survive for more than five years.

Fortunately, prostate cancer can be detected early. When prostate cancer is treated early, survival is near 100%.

How to get close to 100%? Screen with a blood test and physical exam.

Thanks to screenings, 92% of prostate cancer cases are detected in the early stages.

Yet the proportion of men diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer, which has spread to areas such as the bones, lungs, or liver, doubled from 2011 to 2019, according to a recent report by the American Cancer Society.

The diagnosis of all advanced-stage prostate cancers has risen 4% to 5% annually since 2011.

The cause may be due to a decreased rate of screening, or to an increase in the number of men at high risk. But what matters is that prostate cancer is on the rise, and it’s avoidable with routine screening.

Risk factors also contribute to aggressive cancer rates

Which leads to a second possible reason for the growing number of aggressive prostate cancers: a rise in at-risk populations. The average age for prostate cancer diagnosis is 66, but certain factors can cause younger men to be more vulnerable to the disease.

These factors include:

Race – Black men are 50% more likely to develop prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from the disease. Some evidence suggests this may be due to inherited biological factors. Men in this group should discuss the need for screening with their physician at age 45.

Family history – Men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) with prostate cancer have more than twice the risk of developing the disease. These men should discuss screening at age 45. However, if more than one first-degree relative has been diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age, they should seek screening information at 40.

Genetics – Inherited gene mutations, including those linked to breast and ovarian cancers, could heighten the chances of prostate cancer. Lynch syndrome, a condition caused by inherited genes, also enhances the risk of developing the disease.

Screening and early detection save lives

Prostate cancer, when diagnosed early through screening, is treatable and often curable.

Patients have a variety of treatment options for prostate cancer. Among those provided by MidLantic Urology:

Surgical removal of the prostate – Typically performed via a minimally invasive robotic approach.

Radiotherapy – Radioactive energy is applied to the affected area. Options include delivery of fewer but higher radiation doses, delivery through assisted imaging, or through implanted seeds (brachytherapy).

Active surveillance – Incudes regular PSA screenings, digital rectal exams, imaging, and biopsies.

Later-stage treatments include:

Hormone therapy – To block testosterone production and slow the cancer’s growth.

Immunotherapy – To strengthen the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy: – To treat prostate cancer that has spread to other areas of the body when other therapies have failed.

Screening for prostate cancer early can make a difference in outcomes. Ask your doctor about prostate cancer screening.

To learn more about prostate cancer and details of our above treatment options, visit our website here.

Schedule an appointment with a MidLantic Urology Physician near you today!

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